A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mixed Metal Craziness

The last couple of months I seem seized by the compulsion to--GULP--mix my metals (I'm sure I would have been put to death for this in Biblical times--I'm such a rebel). I recently acquired some absolutely fabulous handcrafted African beads in brass and copper from Afrobeadia on Etsy, and they cried out to be together, so I obeyed. I was feeling all rustic and rudimentary so I dispensed with any color other than the metal, and the dark cocoa brown of my leather and linen cording:
I've been playing with making charms from wire--that's my heart charm at the bottom of the picture. I have also fallen in love with Mykonos cast charms--you can see a tiny little heart at the top hiding under the toggle bar--I've been getting Mykonos from Stinky Dog Beads. I love the heft of it and the lovely, antiqued finishes.

I've also been soldering toggle rings and connector rings lately, and embossing them on both sides with my metal texture sheet/hammer technique (bashing the crap out of them with a hammer hides my messy amateur soldering!)--you can see them above. The trick is to sandwich your metal element between two texture sheets, and hammer the texture into both sides at the same time. I've been making my own texture sheets, etching nickel sheet with my favorite patterns.

I adore these brass beads below (also from Afrobeadia)--they're sort of like a cut-tube, but slightly rounded, and lightly soldered on the side. They have a light texture on them, that I think just came from the fabrication process. I dropped them in a strong liver of sulfur solution to really bring up the gold tones, and then tumbled them for a couple hours and they came out simply glorious (the lighting yesterday just didn't do them justice).
I got a whole spool of this lovely deertan leather lacing at Blue Peacock Beads on Etsy...
And a whole spool of solid, raw copper ball chain from Rings & Things--because it's raw, it's super easy to antique as you wish. I do a little bit at a time in the liver of sulfur, and tumble it until it's a rich, shiny chestnut, and then I seal it with ClearGuard before I incorporate it in my jewelry.

I went kind of crazy for these "torpedo" beads a while back--I got a bunch of them in copper and sterling from Monsterslayer. I hammered them lightly to give them a bit of texture (they are a seamed bead, so you have to do this carefully to avoid deforming them). These are more of those Mykonos heart charms from Stinky Dog Beads, you can see them lots better here--one in "bronze" (which is actually a very nice copper color) and one in brass.
This bracelet also includes some brass "cocoon" beads I made using a tutorial by Kharisma Sommers of Popnicute jewelry. Sometimes they add just the right texture.

I went back to my favorite brass beads for this one below, and did some variations on my wire heart charm--I made this one with 12 gauge wire. Whew! I must have annealed it 6 times while I worked on it. I love the heavy chunkiness of it--12 gauge wire from now on for these! Unless they're necklace-sized, and then they'll have to be 10 gauge wire. I better start doing some upper body work at the gym!
I also did some different connectors for the clasp section of this bracelet, and the one above--with strips of textured sheet instead of just jump rings. (I get bored so fast...)

So then I got all excited and ordered a pile more of brass beads from Fire Mountain Gems because I didn't have enough different kinds--just in time for my obsession with color to reassert itself, so I made this yesterday:
The discs are recycled glass beads from Happy Mango Beads (and they're all out of my favorite coke bottle blue-green color--DAMN!); the oval bead at bottom left is some delicious aqua chalcedony; and the carved flower at the top is green aventurine. I did a hook and eye clasp on this one, made from a strip of 22 gauge copper sheet, textured on both sides. I used big-hole copper rondelle spacers from RioGrande in between the discs--perfect if you've got thick, or multiple strands of cording.

After I did this last bracelet, I ordered more of these glass discs in a bunch of different colors, and they will arrive just in time for me to get obsessed with something else. Why can't I ever get obsessed with stuff I already have?